Report: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Production Budget Soared To Nearly $300 Million, More Than Doubling Its Losses At The Box Office
A new report details that recently released The Little Mermaid production budget soared to over $300 million instead of the previously reported $250 million estimate.
Variety initially reported the film cost around $250 million to produce in their coverage of the film’s opening weekend box office woes. Ellise Shafer and Pat Saperstein wrote, “With a $250 million production budget, The Little Mermaid must bait box office success in order to make a reasonable return.”
However, a new report from Caroline Reid at Forbes reveals the film’s budget “swelled to nearly $300 million by the end of August last year, eight months before the movie opened.”
Reid’s report is based off of filings in the United Kingdom where she uncovered that the film’s production company was filed under The Walt Disney Company subsidiary Sand Castle Pictures.
Those filings also show that Disney did receive a rough £46.6 million tax rebate which converts to $56.8 million. That means the net budget would decline to $240.2 million.
However, that net estimate might actually be low given her calculations appear to not factor in any kind of currency exchange or inflation given the costs for The Little Mermaid’s production go back to 2019.
On top of that, it’s possible another report could also come in adding additional costs given the last report was from August 2022 and the film did not arrive in theaters until May 2023. Reid does note that this filing does not include other post-production costs, which can range in the tens of millions of dollars.
Nevertheless, if you use Reid’s rough estimate of the production budget clocking in at $297 million after converting from £243.5 million, the film’s losses more than double what many estimates had for the film using the $250 million estimate.
According to The-Numbers, The Little Mermaid only made $569.1 million worldwide with $298.1 million coming from the North America while $270.9 million came from various international markets.
Using the $250 million production budget, the film needed to gross at least $625 million to break even. Obviously, the film did not do that and thus estimates of its losses came in just shy of $60 million.
However, if you adjust the production budget to the new $297 million number provided by the UK government, the break even point moves to $742.5 million. Thus the losses have also increased to $127.8 million.
That’s also using a conservative factor of 2.5x the film’s production budget. Star Trek actor and film producer Simon Pegg previously indicated that the Star Trek films needed to make 3x their production in order to be profitable.
He said, “The fact is, Star Trek movies don’t make Marvel money. They make maybe $500m at the most, and to make one now, on the scale they’ve set themselves, is $200m. You have to make three times that to make a profit.”
If one actually needs to make 3x a film’s production budget The Little Mermaid needed to gross at least $891 million to break even. Its losses would then come in at $180 million.
YouTuber Mr. H Reviews reacted to this new production budget and shared his thoughts on what it means for The Little Mermaid, “This bombed. This absolutely bombed. … A staggering waste of money. Absolutely unreal. Absolutely obscene. Absolutely obscene.”
He later added, “So this lost cash, a considerable amount of cash. A lot of money. Not good. Absolutely abysmal. Woeful, in fact.”
What do you make of this new report detailing that The Little Mermaid’s production budget was nearly $300 million thus more than doubling how much money the film lost?